A Content Management System without a database seems so unorthodox that one might feel that it shouldn’t have been put into practice in the first place. Many web site owners might even doubt if it could possibly work. But the fact is, there are plenty of CMS that allow you to run a full fledged website or a blog without requiring a database like MySQL. In some situations, it even makes sense to use a database-less CMS.
But the question is: why would anyone want to do that? Most systems run beautifully under WordPress or under other powerful CMS like Joomla and Drupal. So why go database less?
1. Speed: The major advantage of a database-less CMS is speed. Database queries slow down the servers. On a high traffic website this has a dramatic effect on the speed of the site. A database-less website with no server side scripting or database queries is lightening fast.
2. Easy to install/migrate/backup: Setting up and configuring a database for the first install is generally easy. It’s the backing-up and most importantly moving sites between web host that requires too much effort and time. Database-less CMS on the other hand are easy to backup and migrate. Just pack up your files and FTP it to your new server.
3. Easy to edit: A database-less CMS writes files directly to HTML, text or XML files. These files are easier to edit then editing database contents.
4. Simplicity: For a small website, why not take the simple route instead of struggling with complex platforms, which most CMS are? Database-less CMS are perfect for people who has no coding experience.
So let us look at some light Content Management Systems that doesn’t require a database.
1. GetSimple: This is an extremely simple but usable CMS. It stores data in the XML format, supports tags, file uploading, inbuilt back-ups and easy to theme.
Requires UNIX/Linux host, PHP 5.1.3+ and Apache.
2. Pivot is a free CMS written in PHP and doesn’t require a database or any additional libraries to run.
- Sophisticated categories/weblogs system, so you can maintain several weblogs and publish your entries how you like
- Template based
- Built in simple search tool
- Built-in visitor tracking tool
- Easy to upload and include pictures with your log-entries
- Allows for making thumbnails of uploaded images
- Comment system that remembers your visitors
- Automatically creates RSS and Atom feeds
- Archiving by week or month, and by category
3. FlatPress is an open source, multi-lingual, extensible almost WordPress like blogging engine which does not require a database to work. Checkout FlatPress’s own blog to see how it looks.
- Stores data as text files
- Standard-compliant (XHTML valid)
- Supports comments, tags, categories, RSS, archiving etc
- Plugin support
- Widget system
- Easy to customize with themes
- Supports Windows Live Writer
- Requires PHP4 or higher
4. CMSimple: At 100KB it’s one of the smallest CMS available.
- Template driven layout using a CSS script
- The contents of the site is stored in a single HTML-file
- Written in PHP – it runs on Linux/Apache servers, or on Win32 with Apache or IIS
- Inbuilt WYSIWYG editor
- Uploading of images and files
- Search function
- Integration with 3rd party scripts possible
5. Guppy is a light weight CMS that doesn’t require any database. It can install and run from any web host, the only thing it requires is PHP. Guppy is extremely powerful and modular CMS that supports plug-ins and third party scripts.
- Supports comments, directories, polls, forums, RSS, guestbook, etc
- Customizable homepage. You can display the last messages of the discussion board, your preferred message drawn from the guestbook, a number of news as you like, a leading article. You choose the boxes to be displayed, in which order and the number of elements to let appear for each one.
- Make certain website sections private
- Multiple authors
6. RazorCMS is another very power and flexible CMS despite lacking a database. The core of the database is a tiny 200KB in size. Additional modules called Blades can be installed to increase it’s functionality. It even as 3 WYSIWYG editor to choose from. RazorCMS supports a large number of features suitable for small to moderate blogs and websites. It’s requires only PHP to run.
7. SkyBlue is a PHP based, database-less content management system. However, SkyBlueCanvas includes a lot of the same basic abilities as more robust systems like Joomla and Drupal but in a simpler form.
- XML Data Storage (no database required)
- Flexible & Powerful Plugin API
- Small in size (3.5MB)
- Search Engine Friendly URLs (requires mod_rewrite)
- Customizable Meta Tags (globally or by page)
- Built-in RSS feed creation of pages, articles and news items
Most of the CMS discussed above have demos on their site where you can login to their Admin page and take a look around. Be sure to try it out.